Sunday, 11 January 2015
Judaism, the First Phase: the Place of Ezra and Nehemiah in the Origins of Judaism,
Joseph Blenkinsopp, Eerdmans, 2009, page 17
Blenkinsopp, who dates the first five books of the Bible to the time after the return from the Babylonian Exile, makes the point that a nation's own history needs corroboration from the histories of the surrounding peoples to sure that they are valid.
It took some time for non-Jewish authors to notice and comment on the Jewish people and their origins, and therefore for the Jewish ethnos to achieve a degree of social visibility. No contemporary historian writing in Greek who covers the priod of Achaemenid rule (sixth to fourth centuries BC) ... so much as mentions Jews or Judaism.
In other words, Blenkinsopp is suggesting that since the Jewish people have no external attestation before the Macedonian Conquest (332 BC), it is valid to ask whether they existed much before then; certainly whether they existed in the way the biblical text claims they did.